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Migrants who survived the sinking of an inflatable dinghy boat off the coast of Libya on the shore of al-Hmidya Migrants who survived the sinking of an inflatable dinghy boat off the coast of Libya on the shore of al-Hmidya  (AFP or licensors)

More deaths as migrant boat sinks off Libya

Over 100 migrants are feared to have drowned off the coast of Libya after their overloaded boat capsized.

By Nathan Morley

The tiny bodies of three babies were recovered and taken to a mortuary, as the coast guard plucked 16 migrants alive from the water, but up to 100 people remain missing.

The tragedy is all too familiar - their inflatable dinghy sank after the sheer weight of those squeezed on board lead it to capsize.

Hundreds of people have already lost their lives this year in almost identical circumstances.

Now with summer approaching, which means calmer seas and longer days, more people will attempt at making the treacherous Mediterranean crossing.

Separately, over 300 migrants were returned to Libyan ports by the Libyan coast guard on Friday. Over 10,000 migrants have been taken back to Libya this year, with more than 2,000 returned just last week.

Three smuggling boats carrying around 320 migrants east of Tripoli were intercepted by Libyan coast guard on Friday.

Separately, Italy's interior minister Matteo Salvini has said Italian ports would be closed "all summer" to NGO ships. The vessels, which rescue migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe, have become the target of intense debate in Europe.

Some Italian politicians have said the boats are a maritime “taxi” service for migrants heading to Italy.

Listen to Nathan Morley's report
30 June 2018, 18:09